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Fish Buying Guide 1/3 – The Classification of Fishes for Cooking

Dec 3, 2011
Veronica Brandy
N.Y. Editor

Fish Cooking Guide - The Different Fishes For Cooking - Classification of Fish for Cooking

So many questions arise systematically when we feel like cooking fish: fat fish or lean fish? From saltwater or freshwater? Cooked whole, steaks or fillets?
Here’s an explanation how fish are classified.

We are used to classify fish according three main criterias:

1. Their natural environment
2. Their lipid content
3. Their shape

The natural environment

  • Saltwater fish: sole, sea bass, mackerel, place, squid, cod, sea bream, John Dory, brill, turbot, skate, flounder, tuna, whiting, mullet, sardines, anchovies …
  • Freshwater fish: pike, carp, tench, char …
  • Freshwater or sea: sea trout, salmon, eel …

The lipid content

  • Lean fish (less than 5% fat): sea bass, pike, cod, hake, sea bream, monkfish, whiting, cod, skate, sole, flounder, trout.
  • Mid-fat fish (5 to 10% fat): sardines, halibut, anchovies, mackerel, carp, swordfish, roach.
  • Fatty fish (10 to 25% fat): herring, eel, tuna, salmon

The shape of the fish

  • Flat fish in 2 fillets: sea bream, John Dory…
  • Flat fish with 4 fillets: brill, turbot, sole, flounder…
  • Sea round fish with 2 fillets: bar, tuna, whiting, mullet, sardines …
  • Round freshwater fish with 2 fillets: eel, pike, carp, tench

Read the 2 others parts of this mini-guide:

  • Fish guide 2/3: 8 essential criteria tu judge the freshness of fish
  • Fish guide 3/3: How to buy Fish?
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